Novak Djokovic gives subtle nod to Rafael Nadal with Carlos...
Novak Djokovic gives subtle nod to Rafael Nadal with Carlos Alcaraz US Open statement

Novak Djokovic gives subtle nod to Rafael Nadal with Carlos Alcaraz US Open statement

Novak Djokovic shared his wish to face Carlos Alcaraz once again in the final of the upcoming US Open after beating him in Cincinnati. The Serb saved a championship point to come through 5-7 7-6(7) 7-6(4) in three hours and 48 minutes. And Djokovic made a subtle nod to old rival Rafael Nadal as he joked that he had experienced a rivalry with a relentless Spaniard already. Djokovic and Alcaraz contested another thrilling final that went the distance, this time in Cincinnati. It was the Serb who got revenge after losing to the 20-year-old in five sets at Wimbledon last month. And Djokovic said he was already hoping to make it three finals in a row against the world No 1 with the US Open looming. The 23-time Grand Slam champion was visibly struggling in the heat early in the match but he came from a set-and-a-break down to win in three sets with both men saving at least one championship point before Djokovic finally edged the victory. After the near-four-hour epic, the world No 2 was full of kind words for his opponent and appeared to compare their rivalry to his competition with Nadal. "I think we all lost praise, words for what you’re doing on and off the court," the 36-year-old told Alcaraz. "You’re an incredible person and a champion, congrats on an amazing career so far, a lot of the players never manage to reach those heights in their whole careers and what you’ve managed to do in the last two, three years is incredible. Good luck to you and your team for the rest of the year." While he branded his victory one of the toughest and most exciting matches of his career, Djokovic joked that it would be nice if Alcaraz wasn't always so relentless. "Boy you never give up man. Jesus Christ," the 36-year-old laughed, addressing his opponent. Gesturing with his hand, he added: "I love that about you but sometimes I wish you play a few points just like this you know." But Alcaraz had the perfect responded as he quipped: "Spanish never die." And it was a statement that Djokovic was all too familiar with given his epic rivalry with Nadal. "Okay, I’ve heard that before, or I’ve experienced this before," Djokovic smiled, making a reference to Nadal. "Maybe not like this or maybe yes I don’t know, I really don’t know anymore." Djokovic and Nadal have famously faced off 59 times, including in nine Grand Slam finals. While his 16-year age gap with Alcaraz means that the Serb likely won't be able to enjoy a rivalry as long and famous, Djokovic did confess that he wanted to play the world No 1 again in the final of the upcoming US Open. It would mark their fifth career meeting with their head-to-head now all square at 2-2. And the world No 2 said that the Cincinnati match was already like playing another Major final. "It did feel like a Grand Slam final. Even more than that. Every match that we play against each other goes the distance, I’m hoping we can play in some weeks time in New York, that would be nice," he said, quickly adding: "For the crowd, I don’t know about me."

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